Like the back of my hand - les doigts dans le nez Let’s start with another member in the family of nose related idioms; “les doigts dans le nez” signifies being able to do something really easily—specifically, doing these things with “fingers in the nose.” I don’t recommend testing if you can do certain things with your fingers in your nose in public, however, I will never discourage private experimentation.
Splitting hairs - chercher la petite bête This one translates to “to look for the little beast,” meaning always looking for something wrong to complain about, but I actually am looking for a little beast, particularly one like in the Disney animated feature Beauty and the Beast, so if you know anyone who fits that description, please contact me, I am single.
I give up - donner sa langue au chat An idiom for cat-lovers. We’re used to “Cat got your tongue?” but this phrase somewhat implies a greater level of consent: “donner sa langue au chat” means “to give one’s tongue to the cat.” If at any point you give up reading this blog, this would be the most relevant and logical place to do that.
In the words of Salt-N-Pepa, it’s None Of Your Business - s’occuper de ses oignons Based on how delicious French onion soup is, and how much I never want to share it, this idiom makes a lot of sense. Literally, “s’occuper de ses oignons” translates to “to take care of one’s own onions” and it is used in situations in which someone is all up in your onion soup/business in general. Okay, fine, you can have some of my soup, just do not take any of the cheese.
If we were the seven dwarves, I would totally be Grumpy - avoir un pet de travers “Avoir un pet de travers” is the favorite of the five year old within me. It is also the favorite of twenty year old me (okay, I’m only nineteen), especially because I am getting tired of being called a “curmudgeon.” Instead, when I’m being moody and cranky, just tell me that I’m farting sideways (the literal translation) and I’ll perk up real fast!
An unstable strawberry -sucrer les fraises As one of the many students in this world with a lot of work and little sleep, I am often a pretty wobbly person. In fact, if I counted to find out what my most-said phrase in a day is, it could very well be, “I feel a bit faint-y.” But French-speakers have made this blurry, dizzy state of being sound pretty cute: “Sucrer les fraises” translates to “to sugar the strawberries” and indicates that state of wobbliness we all pretend we aren’t experiencing to seem more on top of our lives than we actually are.
Step on it! - appuyer sur le champignon The next time you find yourself in the midst of an adrenaline pumping, high-stakes car chase, remember to shout this phrase at your taxi driver/rickshaw operator/mom. “Appuyer sur le champignon,” or “to press on the mushroom,” is used to denote driving very fast and accelerating.
Go away - aller se faire cuire un œuf I know I said that the farting sideways idiom was my favorite, but I actually just decided that was a lie. Rather, this one is my favorite. It is not only a phrase that I certainly need in my life more often, but it also has delicious results (depending on where the person you’re talking to is on the scale from one to Amelia Bedelia). “Aller se faire cuire un œuf” translates to “go cook yourself an egg” and is utilized in the place of “leave me alone.” With that said, that’s eight idioms for you—now go cook yourself an egg.